FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- Umi Owner Brian Bauer says it didn’t make sense to stop serving the public and decided to hand out free meals, even though it meant not making money.
"We’re doing everything we can to support people and if it means they don’t have to worry about where a meal is coming from, it’s just a little bit of anxiety we can take out of their life," Bauer said.
On Friday, they decided to do something a little different.
Joel Nagel, State Senator Justin Busch, City Councilman Russ Jehl, and other officials teamed up with Umi to deliver meals to the Allen County Health Department.
Umi Head Chef Bob Miller says despite the hard work, it’s the least they could do.
"We can’t appreciate the medical field enough," Miller said. "All of the people that are putting themselves in danger for the general public. So, this is something small that we can do to show our appreciation to the community and the front-line workers."
The meals were dropped off to three of the health department locations Friday.
At the medical campus on New Haven Avenue, nurses are answering phone calls, having to deal with the stress of telling people about COVID-19.
It’s been call after call for the nurses, eight hours a day, five days a week.
Director of Clinical Service Susan Cisney says this is what public health looks like. Tireless work, eating meals when they can.
"I mean we’re trained for this. This is what public health does. The staff that we have is very committed to their roles here and they’re really upbeat," Cisney said.
Even so, for them to receive a hot meal is something they’re grateful for.
Cisney explained, "a lot of the work we do is always kind of behind the scenes and I know the staff are getting a little weary. Right now, it’s Monday through Friday, phone calls for eight hours a day. So, I think the fact that someone thought us to donate lunches for the staff is really remarkable."
Bauer says he hopes he can continue to serve front line workers directly in the future and for him to keep giving away free meals during the week, he says people should continue to use the restaurant's carryout service as all proceeds go towards the food for the following day.